Using Groupon to sell real estate

With the real estate market in the doldrums (and no end in sight), there are reports about a new strategy that would leverage the popular site Groupon:

In the Dream Town deal, the brokerage will pay out $1,000 in cash at closing to home buyers or sellers that spend $25 for the Groupon. The voucher is good for one year from the date of purchase. The offer launches on Friday and will run for a week. On Monday, it will be the featured deal for Chicago subscribers.

The Dream Town deal tips with 50 vouchers purchased, said co-founder and president Yuval Degani. The coupons apply to both traditional and distressed properties, and buyers can be owner-occupiers or investors. The transaction must be at least $150,000 to qualify for the deal, and there is a limit of one Groupon per customer. There is no cap on the total number of Groupons that can be sold.

“Our big picture is we’re really an emerging company,” Degani said, noting that Dream Town has focused on its Web presence and search engine optimization, which helps its site appear higher on search results. “What we’re trying to do is acquire new customers. We’re not really looking at (the Groupon deal) as a reduced commission. We’re looking at it as getting customers for life.”

Degani said Dream Town has four locations and 165 agents in the area.

I wonder how many people will take this offer and then use it within a year. Typical Groupon deals are for smaller or more immediate purchases while this asks buyers to consider a bigger and more important purchase. But if you are already looking to buy (though there are a limited number of these people), $1,000 in cash could sound pretty good.

The article also mentions some other innovative offers that have recently popped up on Groupon. Seeing this story reminds me that the outgoing Mayor Daley spoke at length in a speech on campus (here, here, and here) about the success story of Groupon. But a city like Chicago will need a number of companies like Groupon to develop and thrive in order to gain population.

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